Crafty salesman escapes jail term

By Court Reporter Wednesday 21 November 2012 Updated: 22/11 11:52

A CAR salesman covered up his theft of money paid by customers by repeatedly using other customers’ payments to balance the books.

And by the time auditors reviewed the books at Peugeot dealers Robins and Day, it appeared there was around £35,000 outstanding – all from Ian Poole’s customers.

But Poole - who took the money because he and his wife had debts amounting to £30,000 - pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to seven charges of false accounting on the basis he had stolen no more than £2,000.

The 50-year-old of Leicester Road, Field Head in Markfield near Leicester was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for a year and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

Prosecutor Theresa Thorp said Poole worked as a used car salesman at the dealership on Kenpas Highway for 12 years until his offences were discovered in 2010.

He had been using payments made by one customer to pay off amounts apparently owed by another customer after he had taken some of the money he received for his own use, and had falsified the company’s transaction records to cover that up.

None of the customers were out of pocket as a result of his action.

Jane Hinds, defending, said Poole, who had no previous convictions, now worked for a haulage firm and had been to a debt agency and made agreements to pay off the creditors.

Miss Hinds added: "He is deeply ashamed and deeply remorseful."

Recorder Christopher Donnellan QC told him: "You were placed in a high position of trust, and you took advantage of that."

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